PSG sign ex-Real Madrid midfielder Lassana Diarra

Paris (AFP) – Former Real Madrid and Chelsea midfielder Lassana Diarra has signed for Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday. The 32-year-old, who has signed a deal until June 2019, has been brought in as cover for Thiago Motta, who is 35 and has recently struggled with injury. “I am extremely happy to finally be able to join my hometown club,” said Diarra to the official PSG website. Diarra, who has won 34 caps for France, was released by  United Arab Emirates club Al Jazira at the end of December. “His experience, both abroad and with the France team, will provide our staff with additional options as we enter an exciting second half of the season,” PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said in a statement.

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Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola looking at Aymeric Laporte and Fred

• Laporte and Fred at Athletic Bilbao and Shakhtar respectively
• Duo would make City stronger in defence and central midfieldManchester City are weighing up approaches for Aymeric Laporte of Athletic Bilbao and Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred as Pep Guardiola seeks to strengthen his squad before the end of the January transfer window. Having seen primary target Alexis Sánchez join Manchester United on Monday, Guardiola is determined to bring in new faces before the end of the month and has opted to make a renewed attempt to secure Laporte after the French defender decided against a move to the Etihad Stadium in June 2016. The 23-year-old signed a four-year contract containing a release clause of €65m for two seasons, which is now believed to have risen to €70m (£61.5m) but that has not put off City from contacting his agents – former Spain internationals Carles Puyol and Iván Continue reading "Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola looking at Aymeric Laporte and Fred"

‘It matters more when there is money on it’ is a dangerous indoctrination | David Conn

Relentless marketing, advertising and sponsorship by betting companies is exposing fans to the threat of a gambling addiction on an unprecedented scale and needs curtailingJoey Barton, whose football career was in effect ended early by his suspension last year for gambling, now says the ban on players betting is hypocritical given the game’s dependence on gambling sponsorship and that half of all players could be breaching the rule anyway. He sharply made that point at the time of his 18-month ban last April, later reduced to 13 months; pointing out the Football Association, which solemnly imposed the suspension on him, was sponsored by Ladbrokes. Barton argues the rule, which is aimed at preventing match-fixing, is too absolute, because players like him casually or even addictively gambling on matches are a world away from taking money to throw or fix games. But given huge wages and match-fixing’s existential danger, there Continue reading "‘It matters more when there is money on it’ is a dangerous indoctrination | David Conn"

Phil Neville named as new coach of England women’s football team

• Former Everton captain replaces Mark Sampson until 2021
• Neville holds pro licence but lacks experience of women’s game Phil Neville has been confirmed as the new coach of the England women’s football team. The former Manchester United, Everton and England player has signed a three-year deal and replaces Mark Sampson, who was sacked from the post last September for “inappropriate behaviour” with a player in a previous job. Continue reading...

French league ends goal-line technology contract

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Paris (AFP) – The French league have ended their contract with German company GoalControl after a series of problems with its goal-line technology. The French had suspended use of the system on January 11 after “two serious dysfunctions” in the League Cup.  “Taking account of the numerous anomalies in the GoalControl system, we have agreed to immediately terminate…without further action or compensation from either side,” Didier Quillot, head of the French league wrote in an email on Tuesday to members of the administrative committee. “A call for tenders will be launched in early February to choose a new provider to provide goal-line technology,” Quillot wrote. The contract with GoalControl was due to run until June 2019. Unlike the video assistant referee (VAR), goal-line technology is meant to function automatically when the ball enters the goal, but a former employee of GoalControl told the media in October that the referee’s Continue reading "French league ends goal-line technology contract"

Burnley manager Dyche signs new deal

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> London (AFP) – Burnley manager Sean Dyche has signed a new contract that will keep him at Turf Moor for a further four-and-a-half years, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday. The 46-year-old, in charge of the northwest side since October 2012, is widely regarded as one of the best of the current crop of young English managers along with Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe. Earlier this season, Dyche was linked with the vacancy at Everton after the Toffees sacked Ronald Koeman before veteran former England manager Sam Allardyce took charge at Goodison Park. Tuesday also saw Clarets assistant manager Ian Woan and first-team coach Tony Loughlan sign new deals that will keep them with Burnley until June 2022. “I am quite young in management terms. I am still learning and still improving, I believe, so for my personal reasons, as well, I think it’s the right place to be,” Dyche, who Continue reading "Burnley manager Dyche signs new deal"

Mascherano to leave Barcelona after eight years

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona confirmed on Tuesday that defender Javier Mascherano will leave the club this month, with Spanish media reporting the Argentinian is heading to Hebei China Fortune. The Catalan giants said the 33-year-old would be given an official farewell on Wednesday and say goodbye to fans at Thursday’s Copa del Rey quarter-final, second leg against Espanyol. “Javier Mascherano is leaving FC Barcelona after seven and a half seasons,” the club said on their website. The five-time European champions did not specify where Mascherano was going, but Barcelona sports paper El Mundo Deportivo reported that he will “this Friday become part of the squad of his new club Hebei China Fortune who are doing their pre-season in Marbella (in southern Spain)”. In December, Sport, another Catalan daily, said that Hebei had reached a deal to sign the Argentina international from Barca for 10 million euros ($12.2 million), conditional on the Continue reading "Mascherano to leave Barcelona after eight years"